Google Plus isn’t dead. In fact, it’s been growing. Some people even think Google Plus will prevail big time in 2013 and they have solid arguments. This should make those happy who are already using Google Plus and are seeing its value in one way or another.
Circles is the part of Google Plus that lets you organize people you know in, well, Circles. When it comes to managing Google+ Circles, there are a few things you should know. Well managed Circles mean that you share the right things with the right people and get to see the posts you care about.
The Basics of Managing Google+ Circles
On the Circles page you can see an overview of people you have in your Circles, who have you in their Circles, you can find people based on contact data, and you can search by name. Depending on which tab you are viewing, you can sort the list by different criteria.
Below the lists of people, are your Circles. You might just have a few default ones or maybe you already created custom Circles. To create a new Circle, you can drag and drop people into the top left circle or you can click on it.
Note that you can add multiple people to one circle at the same time. Just select everyone you want to add from the list. When you then move one of the contacts, you are automatically moving everyone you selected.
To select a whole list of people or a Circle, expand the Actions menu and click on Select all.
Now that you know the basics of creating Circles, let’s look at this process in more detail. Here are the things you must know to create better Circles faster and use them to your benefit.
1. People Can’t See To What Circle/s You Add Them
When you add someone to a Circle, they do get a notification, but it only tells them that you added them on Google Plus. They can not see what circle/s you added them to. View your own Google Plus Circle adds notifications to see what a notification looks like.
2. You Can Add People To Multiple Circles
This might not be obvious for everyone, but yes, you can have one single person in several of your Circles. And knowing that they neither see where you add them, nor that you add them to more than one Circle, should put you at ease with trying different combinations. It goes without saying that people can also not see who else is in one of your Circles with them.
3. Organize Circles Based On How You Want to Interact
You should by all means experiment with Circles and see which ones work best for you. Instead of creating Circles based on how you know people (friends, family, colleagues etc.) create Circles based on what you want to share with them or how you want to interact with them.
Remember that Circles are not only shown on Google Plus, but also as labels in Gmail. You can even search mail in Gmail by circle, e.g. circle:friends. Moreover, if you regularly use Hangouts with a specific set of people, you can use Circles as Invite lists.
4. Manage What You See In Your Home Stream
In your Home stream you can see what your Circles are sharing with you. However, you decide that is shown in the All tab and you can choose a different setting for each of your Circles.
From the menu on top of your Home stream, select one of your Circles. As you view the stream from a specific Circle, you will see a slide control in the top right. When the slider is in the left-most position, none of the posts from people in that Circle will be shown on your Home stream. In the right-most position, all posts will be shown and you will be subscribed to notifications.
5. Mute Posts & Remove People
Posts on Google Plus show up based on activity, rather than the chronological order in which they were originally published. Thus it might happen that you see posts popping up in your Home stream that you no longer care for. Likewise, you may get tired of a particular person’s updates. To get rid of posts you no longer want to see, mute them or remove the respective person from the Circle.
Click the arrow head button in the top right of the post and select Mute this post to not see it pop up again or Remove from circles to see no more content from that person.
6. Lock Posts To Prevent Re-Sharing
Sometimes there are news you don’t want to spread. To prevent people from sharing a post, lock it.
Before sharing your update, click the arrow head in the line of who you are sharing with and select Lock this post. Here you can also disable comments. A lock symbol confirms that the post can not be re-shared.
7. Find Out How Your Contacts Share
Are you a little bit curious in which Circles your contacts may have you? Every post shared on Google Plus has a link that indicates how it was shared. It sits in one line with the date and time of the post and will either say Public, Extended circles, or Limited. Clicking on the link will reveal who a post was shared with or at least a selection of people it was shared with.
Managing your Circles well is the key to using Google Plus efficiently. And you might first have to figure out how you actually want to use it. If you would you like to learn more check out our Google Plus guide.
How do you use Google Plus and how are you with managing Google+ circles?